Structural analysis (FEM)

Structural analysis (FEM)

Rolling stock components are exposed to frequent and heavy loads. The structural integrity of rolling stock is a matter of public safety and failure can have catastrophic consequences, like the loss of life, significant economic costs and reputational damage. Structural integrity is therefore a primary concern for railway operators and train manufacturers. Ricardo has vast experience in the structural analysis of railway vehicles and can provide unique insights in all phases of the rolling stock life-cycle - from conceptual design, certification, operational use and modification up to end-of-life.

Ricardo has the latest software tools available to model railway components like wheels, bogie frames, axles, car bodies, rails, etc and to carry out finite element simulations. Mechanical or thermomechanical loads (for example for brake discs) can be applied to these models. With our knowledge of applicable standards we can specify required design loads or we determine representative in-service load collectives by measurements (for example strain gauge measurements) or multi body simulations. 

During the post processing we will analyse calculated material stresses and assess their levels compared to applicable limit stresses from the relevant standards. Also fracture mechanical calculations can be performed, for example for crack growth propagation simulation to support a reliable interval setting of non-destructive testing procedures.

We apply our experience and knowledge of finite element simulations for a wide range of services for our clients, for example:

  • Strength calculation of all types of railway structures
  • Design assessments against EN13749, EN 12663-1, EN13103-1, EN13979-1, etc
  • Fatigue life prediction (according to FKM Richtlinie)
  • Fracture mechanics/crack propagation simulation (root cause analysis)
  • Design (and modification) of railway structures from components to vehicles
  • Fit for use analysis
  • NDT inspection intervals based on fatigue and/or fracture mechanical analysis